Bousta Beanie Kit

by Sarah Lake Upton in ,

I'm not really a hat knitter normally, but at the good natured prodding of my friend Sarah Hunt (@fibertrek) I finally caved and knit a Bousta Beanie. (For those who, like me, have been living under a rock all summer, Bousta Beanie is a free pattern designed by Gundrun Johnston to promote the 2017 Shetland Wool Week. Apparently everyone is knitting them, and I can see why). As she usually is when it comes to all matters knitting, Sarah is absolutely right and I loved knitting my Bousta Beanie so much that I further caved to Sarah's prodding and put together a kit.

I got so excited about making the kit that I haven't actually finished mine yet - appologies for the lack of blocking, end tucking, or pom pom) .

I got so excited about making the kit that I haven't actually finished mine yet - appologies for the lack of blocking, end tucking, or pom pom) .


The kit contains two, 110 yard skeins of 3-Ply Romney fingering weight, and one, 110 skein each of 3-Ply Straw's Farm Island Sheep fingering weight dyed with natural indigo in a light blue gradient and a more solid dark indigo colorway.





There is, of course, a kit bag.


The product link will go live this evening (Wednesday, September 13) at 5:00 PM.  I'm stuck traveling for my "day job" again next week, though thankfully only for a few days this time.  All orders placed by noon on Friday, September 15 will go out that day.  All order placed after that will have to wait until Friday September 21.

Fibertrek wool scout retreat

by Sarah Lake Upton in ,


In addition to hosting a podcast (FiberTrek, available on iTunes) and facilitating the introduction of designers, crafters, and yarn producers to each other and to knitters at large, my good friend Sarah Hunt puts on lovely, cozy, educational, yarn/knitting retreats in Maine.  In her podcasts and personal knitting she is interested in the relationship of wool, yarn, and knitting to landscape and a sense of place. For the last couple of years she has been bringing these ideas into focus during her Tidal Tours knitting retreats in collaboration with Jodi Clayton of One Lupin Fiber Arts, but even more exciting, this year she is also drawing on her background as a Maine Guide to bring interested knitters into the wilds of Maine.


From August 13-17 Sarah will be hosting the Wool Scout Knitting Retreat at Bradford Camps on Munsungan Lake, in Township 8-Range 10.  The camps may be reached by logging road, but a float plane is the recommended mode of transport.   Mary Jane Mucklestone will be holding classes in Fair Isle knitting (!!!!!!!)  Sarah will be teaching classes in starting fires with flint and steel, and also in working with rare and primitive breed wools,  Jani Estell of Star Croft Fibers will be leading a class in making Viking Chatelaines (an organizer for small tools)  and Igor Sikorsky will be teaching fly fishing and map and compass skills.  And, boat schedule willing, I will be there as well with my indigo pots, introducing interested folks to the magic of dyeing with natural indigo.  I am giddy to be included in such company, and also just really looking forward to getting to be part of the retreat.


For more information, and to register, go to

October Highlights

by Sarah Lake Upton in ,

So the election happened.  

This morning I find that I need to concentrate on all the positive things that happened in my creative world while I was home.  (On Monday I met the boat in Alameda, California, for our annual shipyard period; currently she is in dry dock).

As I mentioned in a previous post, the gansey yarn spun from the 2016 Coopworth fleeces from Buckwheat Blossom Farm in Wiscasset, Maine was there to great me when I arrived home, and the yarn is lovely.

Many people on the 2016 Coopworth Gansey yarn wait list were entranced by the yarn in its two undyed colors, but I did get to do some very satisfying dyeing:

From left to right; Light Gray (Undyed), North Atlantic (custom blue/green), Nordic Tug Green (custom green) Medium Blue, and Dark Gray/Brown (undyed).

From left to right; Light Gray (Undyed), North Atlantic (custom blue/green), Nordic Tug Green (custom green) Medium Blue, and Dark Gray/Brown (undyed).

I am still working through the wait list, but I ran out of time at home.  If you are still on the wait list and you haven't heard from me to talk about your yarn needs, fear not, I still have 2016 Coopworth Gansey yarn, I am just out of time at home.  I will be back in my yarn room in early January, and will be in touch to discuss individual orders. 


One of the highlights of my time home was getting to vend at the Highlands on the Fly knitting retreat at the New England Outdoor Center near Millinocket, Maine.  I had a lovely time catching up with knitters I met there in years past (I missed last year because of my boat schedule) and meeting new knitters. 

 This year the great Mary Jane Mucklestone spoke about her travels and interest in the Shetland Islands, Ellen Mason of Doc Mason Yarn gave a class in Mason Jar dyeing, and I finally got to meet Michelle Bye of ByeBrook Farm (we've been Instagram acquaintances for a while - she has lovely sheep).  Other venders included Jani Estelle of Starcroft Fiber Mill, Casey ff Port Fiber, and Jodi Clayton of One Lupin Fiber Arts.  Mary Jane brought her knit swatches from her recent books:  150 Scandinavian Motifs and 200 Fair Isle Motifs (link takes you to a page about Mary Jane's books on her website, scroll down a bit for the titles). I have spent many an hour pouring over the photos in those books, so it was actually a bit surreal to see them in person.  The photos do manage to capture the spirit of the swatches, but seeing the swatches in person I found that some motifs and color combinations possessed an extra dimension of energy that just didn't quite come across in the photos, while other samples that were stunning in the book, though still lovely in person, didn't quite draw my eye the same way they had in two dimensions.  It was an interesting reminder that knitting is not a static medium, and that different light, different pairings of swatches, and just getting a change to pick up a piece, can completely change how one feels about the same piece of knitting.  (I was too sidetracked by getting to actually look at them to remember to photograph them for a later blog post - for which I appologize).

(I also felt immense admiration for the photographer - yarn is maddeningly difficult to photograph accurately, or even consistently).


Time was my biggest challenge when I was home.  I lost two of my six weeks of time home to classes necessary to maintain my boat life, and while both were worthwhile, and the fire fighting class was downright fun at times, I resented the intrusion of my boat life into my yarn life.


But I have now officially fought fire (under controlled conditions) wearing my At Sea Gansey (pattern by Beth Brown-Reinsel).  The increased range of motion and ease of wear that make ganseys so lovey to wear when working on a tall ship are equally lovely while moving a fire hose.

And Now for a Bit of Catching Up (or, another round up) - Also, Coopworth Gansey Yarn Update.

by Sarah Lake Upton in ,

FIrstly; because I have been arguing with my newsletter software, for those of you who expressed interest in the 2016 Coopworth Gansey yarn, I am pleased to report that it is back from the mill and sitting in my yarn room waiting for me to come home (which I shall do at the end of September).  I will be sending out individual emails to people on the Coopworth Gansey yarn wait list before I start dyeing to clarify orders and etc, so start thinking about yardage.  Hopefully I will eventually managed to send out a newsletter to folks on the wait list.


I have been back on the Sea Lion for two weeks now, which means it is just about time to write the round-up of what I got up to whilst on my last rotation home.  But first, while my internet remains somewhat limited, I have been doing my best to regularly post to Instagram, where I go by @uptonyarns.  My photos from my time on the boat are generally travel related more than yarn related, but I will admit that I've become a bit addicted to the ease of Instagram, and have taken to using it to showcase that one new dyelot of yarn that I dyed just before I left for the boat that doesn't warrant a whole newsletter (for instance).


While I was home this time I had the good fortune to be invited to vend at the the second session of the Tidal Tours Retreat in Machaisport Maine hosted by Jodi of One Lupine Fiber Arts and Sarah of the FiberTrek podcast.  The retreat was based out of a house with one of the loveliest views I have seen in a while, and I admit that I got a bit sidetracked (and then totally failed to photograph it, because yarn-ish things were also happening). 


I am looking forward to vending at the Highlands on the Fly retreat at the New England Outdoor Center in October. 


After the Tidal Tours Retreat I followed Sarah back up to her lovely cottage on the pond in for a long weekend of catching up and making things.  Sarah mainly sewed, and I took over part of her kitchen and yard to dye indigo. 




She also filmed a segment with me for a further episode of her podcast, but I am much happier behind the camera and I fear I may have rambled unto incoherence.  Hopefully she got something useable, but I may ask for a second try.


From there it was back to Worcester, where it was so hot that even the candle in candle holder above our mantle seemed to give up.




But I braved the warm temperatures and kept my dye pot anyway, dyeing quite a bit of my 3 Ply Cotswold fingering weight (suitable for Sanquhar) for Beth Brown Reinsel. 




I believe that she is turning some of it into kits, so, if you are interested, please get in touch with her.  You will also be able to find her this winter at the Spa yarn retreat in Freeport, Maine.  I hope to have Cotswold back in stock for my own purposes sometime this winter.


And without triggering my superstitions by saying too much, I am very excited about a couple of things happening this fall.  Very excited.  Fingers crossed.


Fiber Trek

by upton in

I have always been a fairly solitary person, and a fairly solitary knitter, so one of my favorite things about this whole “starting a yarn business” adventure is discovering the wider community of knitters, and the myriad of ways they engage with their craft. Sarah Hunt, in addition to starting and hosting a yarn retreat (at which I will be vending and perhaps even teaching this fall) is filming a travel show about the larger fiber community, showcasing every aspect of fiber production and use, from farmers to owners of small spinning mills to designers and knitters.  At the moment she is focusing on the fiber scene in Maine, though I suspect as her project grows she will branch out to other states (though the Maine fiber scene is large and varied, so it may take a while).  Check out her buzzreal here, and her blog here.  I am very much looking forward to getting back to the land of fast internet so that I can catch up on her latest posts!